Black people in France

Population statistics

French Black people or Black people in France (French: Noirs de France) are French citizens or residents who are of black African origin.

Total population
(Approximately 1.8-5 million (3-7.5% of the French population);
it is illegal for the French State to collect data on ethnicity and race.)
Regions with significant populations
Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nantes, French West Indies, French Guiana, Réunion, Mayotte, New Caledonia
French; various African languages, French Creoles and others
Christianity, others

Although it is illegal for the French state to collect data on ethnicity and race (a law with its origins in the 1789 revolution and reaffirmed in the constitution of 1958), various population estimates exist. An article in The New York Times in 2008 stated that estimates vary between 3 million and 5 million. It is estimated that four out of five black people in France are of African immigrant origin, with the minority being chiefly of Caribbean ancestry.

Some organizations, such as the Representative Council of France’s Black Associations (French: Conseil représentatif des associations noires de France, CRAN), have argued in favour of the introduction of data collection on minority groups but this has been resisted by other organizations and ruling politicians, often on the grounds that collecting such statistics goes against France’s secular principles and harks back to Vichy-era identity documents. During the 2007 presidential election, however, Nicolas Sarkozy was polled on the issue and stated that he favoured the collection of data on ethnicity. Part of a parliamentary bill which would have permitted the collection of data for the purpose of measuring discrimination was rejected by the Conseil Constitutionnel in November 2007.

Notable people

In French politics

Afro-French members of the French Parliament or government from overseas France

There have been dozens of Afro-Caribbean or Afro-French MPs representing overseas electoral districts at the French National Assembly or at the French Senate, and several government members.

  • Roger Bambuck, Minister of Youth and Sports from 1988 to 1991.
  • Aimé Césaire, mayor of Fort-de-France and deputy from Martinique for the PCF/Martinican Progressive Party.
  • Félix Éboué, French Guianan-born colonial administrator and Free French leader.
  • Laura Flessel-Colovic, she became the Sports Minister in 2017.
  • Serge Letchimy, deputy for Martinique Socialist Party, Letchimy is also of partial Tamil descent.
  • Gaston Monnerville, politician and lawyer, he was the president of the Senate from 1958 to 1968.
  • Christiane Taubira, a deputy from French Guiana, was the first black candidate to a French presidential election, in 2002. In 2012, she became the Justice Minister until 2016.

Afro-French people elected in metropolitan France

  • Severiano de Heredia, president of the municipal council of Paris (1879–1880/ sort of mayor of Paris ), deputy for Paris (1881–1889), minister (1887)
  • Blaise Diagne (1872-1934), first black African elected to the French Chamber of Deputies, and the first to hold a position in the French government.
  • Élie Bloncourt (1896–1978), second Black metropolitan deputy (1936–40, 1945–47), first Black metropolitan general councillor (1934–40, 1945–51)
  • Ernest Chénière (1945–), former deputy for Oise (1993–97)
  • Raphaël Élizé (fr) (1891–1945), the first Black metropolitan mayor (1929–40)
  • Hélène Geoffroy, deputy for the Rhône, mayor
  • Gaston Monnerville (1897–1991), first Black metropolitan senator (1946–1974), president of the French Senate (1947–68), mayor, president of Lot’s general council
  • George Pau-Langevin, Paris deputy (2007–12), junior minister (2012–2014), Minister for Overseas (2014–)
  • Arthur Richards (1890–1972), general councillor in Bordeaux (1951–1964), deputy for Gironde (1958–67)
  • Rama Yade, former minister and secretary of State
  • Harlem Désir, former minister for European Affairs and MEP, former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party
  • Kofi Yamgnane, former minister, former MP, former mayor, former general councillor in Brittany.
  • Hervé Berville, Rwandan Genocide survivor, French economist and politician, Côtes-d’Armor MP for La République En Marche! since June 2017, party spokesperson.
  • Seybah Dagoma, then 34-year-old lawyer of Chadian descent and founding member of a left-wing think tank, was elected in a Parisian constituency in 2012 and in office until 2017.
  • Laetitia Avia, lawyer of Togolese descent, member of the National Assembly for the 6th constituency of Paris since 2017.
  • Danièle Obono, Gabonese descent MP for La France Insoumise representing the 17th Paris constituency since the legislative elections of 2017.

Political activists

  • Frantz Fanon, Marxist, existentialist and anti-colonial author and activist. Renounced his French citizenship.
  • Kémi Séba, Pan-Africanist political leader, writer, an activist and geopolitical analyst for various African television channels
  • Louis-Georges Tin, president of the Representative Council of France’s Black Associations and founder of the International Day Against Homophobia
  • Rokhaya Diallo, French journalist, BET-France host, author, filmmaker, and activist for racial, gender and religious equality.

In sports

In basketball

  • Tony Parker
  • Joakim Noah
  • Rudy Gobert
  • Alexis Ajinça
  • Nicolas Batum
  • Rodrigue Beaubois
  • Boris Diaw
  • Ian Mahinmi
  • Johan Petro
  • Mickaël Piétrus
  • Kevin Séraphin
  • Ronny Turiaf
  • Isabelle Yacoubou
  • Isaïa Cordinier
  • Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot
  • Frank Ntilikina

In football

  • Raoul Diagne (1910-2002), first black player to be selected for the French national football team.
  • Marius Trésor, one of the best central defenders of all time in Pele’s top 125 greatest living footballers.
  • Larbi Benbarek (1914-1992), nicknamed “the Black Pearl”, largely remembered as the first successful black footballer in Europe.
  • Nicolas Anelka
  • Serge Aurier
  • Eric Abidal
  • Jean-Kévin Augustin
  • Jean-Christophe Bahebeck
  • Tiemoué Bakayoko
  • Griedge Mbock Bathy
  • Gaël Clichy
  • Pascal Chimbonda
  • Kingsley Coman
  • Moussa Dembélé
  • Ousmane Dembélé
  • Abou Diaby
  • Lassana Diarra
  • Marcel Desailly
  • Alou Diarra
  • Patrice Evra
  • Odsonne Édouard
  • Bafétimbi Gomis
  • William Gallas
  • Josuha Guilavogui
  • Thierry Henry
  • Romain Habran
  • Jonathan Ikoné
  • N’Golo Kanté
  • Geoffrey Kondogbia
  • Presnel Kimpembe
  • Alexandre Lacazette
  • Steve Mandanda
  • Yann M’Vila
  • Blaise Matuidi
  • Florent Malouda
  • Eliaquim Mangala
  • Anthony Martial
  • Kylian Mbappé
  • Rio Mavuba
  • Benjamin Mendy
  • Ferland Mendy
  • Paul-Georges Ntep
  • Christopher Nkunku
  • Hervin Ongenda
  • Paul Pogba
  • Loïc Rémy
  • Bacary Sagna
  • Mamadou Sakho
  • Moussa Sissoko
  • Youssouf Sabaly
  • Louis Saha
  • Lilian Thuram
  • Samuel Umtiti
  • Patrick Vieira
  • William Vainqueur
  • Raphaël Varane
  • Sylvain Wiltord
  • Kurt Zouma
  • Yacine Brahimi
  • Raïs M’Bolhi
  • Corentin Tolisso
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Mohamed Sissoko
  • Thomas Lemar
  • Tanguy Ndombele
  • Steven N’Zonzi
  • Layvin Kurzawa
  • Mike Maignan
  • Alassane Pléa
  • Djibril Sidibé
  • Wendie Renard
  • Delphine Cascarino
  • Grace Geyoro
  • Kadidiatou Diani
  • Griedge Mbock Bathy
  • Aïssatou Tounkara
  • Viviane Asseyi
  • Emelyne Laurent
  • Marie-Antoinette Katoto
  • Ouleymata Sarr
  • Aminata Diallo

Other sports

  • Christine Arron, track and field sprint athlete
  • Laura Flessel-Colovic, fencer
  • Constantin Henriquez, Olympic rugby union player
  • Yannick Noah, last French Roland-Garros winner to this day (1983), current French Davis Cup coach
  • Gaël Monfils, tennis player
  • Teddy Riner, judoka
  • Francis Ngannou, mixed martial artist
  • Vanessa James, Olympic figure skater
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, tennis player

In entertainment and media

  • Josephine Baker, dancer and singer
  • Daniel Picouly, author
  • Fatou Diome, best-selling and award-winning author of Senegalese origin.
  • Élé Asu, journalist and TV presenter of Nigerian descent
  • Édouard Montoute, French actor and thespian
  • Dominique Thimbakala, TV newscaster for BFM TV
  • Kareen Guiock, TV newscaster for M6
  • Mouss Diouf, actor
  • Miss Dominique, singer
  • Fabe, rapper
  • Hélène and Célia Faussart (Les Nubians), singing duo
  • Aissa Maiga, actress
  • Sonia Rolland, actress
  • Imany, singer
  • Hubert Kounde, actor and thespian
  • Lord Kossity, Dancehall musician
  • Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, comedian and anti-zionist activist
  • Fab Morvan, model and singer, half of Milli Vanilli
  • Audrey Pulvar, newscaster and journalist
  • Firmine Richard, actress
  • Harry Roselmack, newscaster
  • Omar Sy, César-winning actor
  • Olivier Coipel, comic book artist
  • Black M, rapper
  • MHD, rapper
  • MC Solaar, cult French rapper
  • Shy’m, pop singer
  • Les Twins, new-style hip-hop dancers

European / African (or Afro-Caribbean) descent

  • Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, general in the French Revolution and father of Alexandre Dumas
  • Thierry Dusautoir, rugby player
  • Chevalier de Saint-Georges, composer, conductor, and violinist, master fencer and military man.
  • Rudy Gobert, basketball player
  • Noémie Lenoir, model
  • Chloé Mortaud, Miss France 2009
  • Anais Mali, model
  • Sonia Rolland, actress, Miss France 2000
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, tennis player
  • Gaël Monfils, tennis player
  • Flora Coquerel, Miss France 2014
  • Alicia Aylies, Miss France 2017
  • Willy William, singer and producer
  • Cindy Bruna, model

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